Reports from the AERO 2009 gathering at Friedrichshafen, Germany, provided encouraging signs that the aviation industry is coping well with the world’s current economic problems.
While emphasizing “the fascination of flight and the thrill of discovering new aircraft,” the international aviation trade show gave the industry an important boost, with increases in the numbers for visitors, exhibitors and the amount of exhibition space used. AERO 2009 attracted 625 exhibitors, 12% more than at the last show, the final report stated, and with more than 46,400 visitors, “the European meeting place for general aviation also came through with a perfect three-point landing,” the report said, adding that “exhibitors showed great satisfaction and even greater relief that trade visitor interest exceeded all expectations, despite a challenging economic climate.”
Manufacturers at AERO reported solid sales of business jets, but also told of success in piston aircraft sales, particularly significant since that is the segment that has seen the sharpest decline in demand in recent months. In addition to sales, manufacturers of single-engine two-seaters and ultralights made reference to many potential customers who are “seriously considering” buying.
“The AERO has impressively demonstrated that it continues to grow in a difficult market environment and is an important platform and a major mouthpiece for the industry,” said AERO Project Manager Thomas Grunewald. New themes, particularly the “E-Flight-Expo” with its alternative propulsion concepts, and the Helicopter Hangar, received an exceptionally positive response from visitors and the media, he said. Visitors, 70% of whom held flying licenses, traveled to Friedrichshafen from all five continents and 40 countries, Grunewald said.